The division of Andhra Pradesh to create Telangana state has hit hard the election chances of both archrivals - Congress and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) in Andhra Pradesh (AP).
Election to both Lok Sabha and State Assembly is to be held in AP between 30 April and 7 May. People in Seemandhra were still raging with anger on Congress and TDP wanted to utilise the chance.
Chandrababu Naidu has started campaigning for his TDP in Seemandhra first, leaving the Telangana for latter period.
Naidu is stating that it is only his party which could form government in the next assembly election in Seemandhra. He has even urged former Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy and actor Pawan Kalyan not to launch new parties, and instead join his party to avoid polarisation of votes in Seemandhra region.
Reddy, who quit Congress citing division of united Andhra Pradesh as the main reason, is to launch a new party shortly. Even actor Pawan Kalyan is also speculated to start another party, who commands a major fan following in AP.
Congress position in Seemandhra is seen as pathetic as its leaders. Even the ministers in the region are looking for green pastures like TDP. Several leaders like TG Venkatesh, Erasu Prathap Reddy - current ministers in the state- have joined TDP.
Another former minister Ganta Srinivasa Rao and four MLAs - UV Ramana Murthy Raju (Kannababu), M Srinivasa Rao, P Ramesh Babu and C Venkatramiah from Congress have stated to join TDP in Visakhapatnam on 12 March 2014.
A few more MLAs of the dissolved Andhra Pradesh assembly and senior Congress leaders like JC Diwakar Reddy from Anantapur in Rayalaseema, have also stated to join the TDP.
A former minister and Congress leader from Seemandhra, Galla Aruna Kumari has recently joined TDP. Buoyed by the exodus of leaders from Congress into TDP, Chandrababu Naidu said that a programme to propagate TDP in Telangana will be announced immediately.
Till now, a lot of TDP leaders have joined TRS, hoping that the party would surely form government in the new state. TRS has said no to its merger with Congress. Even the possible electoral alliance between Congress and TRS has not been possible as both parties have ruled out such electoral tie-up. This situation of squabble between Congress and TRS in Telangana may help TDP to regain ground.
In Seemandhra, TDP will have to fight YSR Congress, headed by Jaganmohan Reddy, an MP from Kadapa. Jagan is planning to campaign in Seemandhra, where he is very strong due to the popularity of his father and late Chief Minister YS Rajasekhar Reddy.
However, Jagan has a limiting factor that he is facing cases of disproportionate assets involving thousands of crores of rupees, exactly on which Naidu is attacking Jagan to block YSR Congress. Jagan is stated to have been planning to entrust the onus of electioneering in Telangana to his sister Sharmila Reddy, as he stood opposed to carving out of Telangana.
(Edited by Anu James)